Rotarians in the community . . .

Business leaders give books
for Putnam students

January 26, 2007
Library Director Jackie Chaney unloads books at Winfield Middle School.

Mary Keely

Rotary President Mary Keely instructs students on use.


United Bank's Jason Shepherd takes books for Hurricane Middle School.

Haynes and Lucas

Appalachian Electric's Joe Haynes and Randy Lucas of Padgett Business Services take books into classrooms.


Students check out their personal copies of the new books.

The weather was bitter, but Rotarians were in schools early today and Thursday handing out nearly 700 copies of Webster's New Basic Thesaurus to sixth grade students at Hurricane and Winfield.

The books are provided through the national Dictionary Project as a gift which boys and girls may keep and use as a personal reference source.

This marks the second year local club members have participated in the project sponsored through Rotary District 7550, which includes 32 clubs in southern West Virginia.

Last year, dictionaries were provided to the Putnam Literacy Volunteers for distribution to adult basic education students.

Students in the Interact Club at Hurricane High assisted with the thesaurus distribution by affixing nameplates and Rotary information in the front of each copy.

As Rotarians gave out the books, each group of students at Hurricane and Winfield was instructed on their use.

Usually the first question was: "What is a thesaurus?"

There were demonstrations on ways the books could be used to find words with similar meanings. The books could also help to hone basic language skills and writing abilities.

"It's important in the business world to understand the meanings of words," said Club President Mary Keely. "A solid command of language helps you to do better work, and to do it faster."

Putnam school officials had earlier said that students already have convenient access to dictionaries in their classrooms, and were trained in their use.

But a thesaurus sometimes was not handy.

Rotarians then decided to provide thesauruses in place of dictionaries. The sixth grade was designated as a level at which students began special concentration on skills of composition.

Standardized tests nationally tend to compare student skills in writing and language comprehension.

Rotarian Randy Lucas, who chairs the project in Putnam County, said the local club wants to make copies of a thesaurus available to every sixth grade student.

"We gave the books out at Hurricane and Winfield," he said, "and we hope to serve other students as soon as we hear from their schools."

The idea for the Dictionary Project began in 1992 when Annie Plummer of Savannah, Georgia gave 50 dictionaries to children who attended a school close to her home. She didnít stop there, however. In her lifetime she raised the money to buy 17,000 dictionaries for children in Savannah.

She died in 1999, but she left an idea that has developed into The Dictionary Project, a nonprofit organization.

Many people have implemented The Dictionary Project who have never heard of her.

Since her death, over 1.25 million children have received dictionaries because thousands of people saw the same need in communities all over the United States.

The Putnam Rotary meets at noon every Tuesday
at Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

More Putnam Rotary News? Click HERE.